Monday, January 17, 2011

Fresh Mint Ice Cream Recipe using fresh Aerogarden mint!

One thing that's been on my mind for a very, very long time to try is real mint ice cream. I'm not talking about that bright green alien life form you see in the supermarket freeze shelves, I'm talking about real ice cream that's made from real mint leaves. While most of my Aerogarden herbs this go-around have died prematurely (thanks, I believe, to my letting the seeds sit around for way too long), the mint has proven to be resilient to the point of being weed-like.

I chopped every last bit of mint until my Aerogarden looked like me after my dad gave me one of his buzz haircuts as a kid (which would make my brother and me run out of the room in tears every time).

Taking a bunches of mint...

...I tore the leaves until I had two packed cups. I threw them into a cream-milk mixture.

...and then I heated. What happens here is that the essential oils of the mint leaves go into the milk and cream, infusing it with a minty taste and color.

After simmering, you then press the mixture through a strainer so that you're just left with the mint-infused cream and milk.

The color was supposed to be more green, I think. But it did smell minty. Here's what was left of the mint leaves after I squeeze it all through.
The next step was to churn in my ice cream maker. I personally use a KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker Attachment.It's a snap to use--you freeze the metal bowl, you chill the milk and cream mixture, and you let it churn for about 20 minutes. It's just as easy and takes up a lot less space than buying a standalone ice cream maker. The result was this creamy frozen delight.

As for the taste, it was very interesting. The mint was not quite like the mint ice cream you buy in the store which was both good and not so good. On the positive side, it struck me how "natural" and "fresh" this ice cream tasted.On the not-so-positive side, I found that I have gotten used to "unnatural" tasting mint ice cream with heaping helpings of infused flavors to make it a bit more "minty" than this preparation technique could probably muster. Still, I found it an overall success. Next time, I'd probably break up some chocolate and throw it into the mix.

By the way, if you're curious, I got the recipe from book that's widely considered THE authority on ice cream, The Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accompaniments.

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